New Year Idea: Think With Hink Pinks!

Happy New Year! It's officially a new year, which is a perfect time to blog about something I love, love, love!

Are you familiar with the following:

Hink Pinks
Hinky Pinkies
Hinkity Pinkities

If you've answered no, then you have been missing out! But don't worry, I'm about to save you!! 

If you've answered yes, then it is my hope that you will have access to even more wonderful resources after reading this blog. 

I was introduced to Hink Pinks 8 years ago. The first school I taught in was a Responsive School, filled with Responsive Classrooms. If you don't know all about Responsive Classrooms, you can find out more by going to the Responsive Classroom Website. When I became a part of this school community, I was sent to a week-long training, entitled Responsive Classroom I. It is still the best training I have ever been a part of, for that very reason, I was a part of the training. It wasn't a death-by-powerpoint or monotone teacher in Ferris Bueller type of instruction. It was engaging and fun! We moved around, we talked about ideas, we played games that made us comfortable with one another, and at the end of the week, I was sad to leave my training behind, but super excited to go back to the classroom with all of these new ideas and activities. 

Anyway, I could go on and on about RC forever, but I want to talk in this post about Hink Pinks because they are engaging, fun, and they encourage learning! Hooray for Hink Pinks! 

So, what exactly is a hink pink? Hink pinks are fun rhyming word riddles. The answer to the riddle is a pair of rhyming words. For example, one of my favorites is What do you call a large feline? The answer? A fat cat! Seriously, isn't that a blast of fun? 

Other examples are: 
Hink Pink: a paperback thief            Answer: a book crook
Hink Pink: an angry father               Answer: a mad dad

Now, I know you are wondering about the difference between hink pinks, hinky pinkies, and hinkity pinkies, so let me explain:

Hink Pinks are riddles that have a rhyming word pair answer and each word in the pair is one-syllable
Example: an enjoyable race is a fun run

Hinky Pinkies are riddles that have a rhyming word pair answer  and each word in the pair is two-syllables
Example: A friend who fell in the dirt is a muddy buddy

Hinkity Pinkities are riddles that have a rhyming word pair answer and each word in the pair is three-syllables
Example: A choosey sleuth would be a selective detective

I started using these daily this year because they are truly a fun and engaging way to work vocabulary practice in to students' daily learning and encourage critical thinking skills. As noted by Barbara Evans, who I consider to be the "Guru of Hink Pinks": 

Hink Pinks are riddles that help students learn to interpret data, make inferences, draw conclusions, and analyze new information. All the while, they are working with vocabulary, synonyms, definitions, parts of speech, and honing rimes. What could be better than a fun way to work with Bloom’s Taxonomy? 

I couldn't have said it better myself! I post a daily Hink Pink, starting the year with just Hink Pinks, and then slowly introducing Hinky Pinkies as the students are ready. I put it up in the morning and students have all day to turn in their guess for a ticket. I created these to record their answers:

They place one guess per day in a basket and I choose a student to share the answer when they quietly line up to leave for the day (and I have the basket in my hand to avoid any "late" submissions). I have a lot of adults in my room throughout the day and even they partake in the daily guessing. You don't want to know what happens if I forget to post one! It's the first thing I hear about :-) If only my students knew they were learning AND having fun! Last month, some of my students began creating their own hink pinks. They submit them to me on sticky notes at the end of each day for consideration not because I asked them to, but because they enjoy them and want to become creators of hink pinks. How amazing is it that they are challenging themselves to do that? Oh, Hink Pinks, you make a teacher smile ear to ear!

As my class starts the New Year, they are leaving Hink Pinks behind and starting to do only Hinky Pinkies! I am thinking that we'll tackle the Hinkity Pinkities in the spring, though some of them are challenging even for me! I'm looking forward to seeing how excited they are when they see a Hinky Pinky on the board January 2nd and know they have "graduated" to the next level :-)

There are various websites available with Hink Pinks if you simply Google it, but my go-to for Hink Pinks has been Barbara Evans. You can view her Hink Pinks in her store at Barbara Evans TpT. She has a ton of sets at really reasonable prices. She also has a couple of freebies listed right now that you could use for the February holidays:

I hope that you will give Hink Pinks a try in your classroom and find the educational value in them as well. They have definitely become a staple in my classroom, and even a fun discussion piece amongst adults. For kicks, ask your spouse or friends to solve your daily hink pink! Here's a few to think about:

Hink Pink: What do you call sugary paws?

Hinky Pinky: What do you call a fake horse?

Hinkity Pinkity: What do you call a conversation amongst drums?




  1. These look like fun, but I need some more practise and a bit of a think!

    I will revisit when I am in more of a thinking mood!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

  2. I love this idea! Do you think it would work with second graders? I have a few who would get a huge kick out of these! Thanks so much for sharing. It's this type of post that keeps me blog hoppin! Thanks! (I am also a new follower!)
    Second Grade is Out of This World

  3. Welcome to my blog Hilary! Yes, I think that you could try Hink Pinks and Hinky Pinkies with your second graders. Instead of having them guess both words, perhaps for the first couple of months you could give them the clue AND one of the words. Then they are still thinking about syllable patterns and rhyming patterns, but they are more heavily guided. Then, after you've done Hink Pinks for awhile, I'd do the same with Hinky Pinkies. Maybe for the last month of the year they'll be ready to try both words? Maybe even sooner! I hope that suggestion helps. Happy New Year!

  4. @Hilary
    I've used Hink Pinks with 1st graders for years!!! Sometimes it takes a little more explanation and/or leading, but they can do them. The key is to do quite a few together, modeling your thinking, until you can see the light bulb go on in their brains. My 2nd grade enrichment students love to write their own, just as Rachel's students have started doing. So, yes, lower grade students can do Hink Pinks. That's part of the appeal -- they intrigue every age.

    Barb Evans
    "Guru of Hink Pinks" :)

  5. I love Hink Pinks. I am a word freak! =)

    I think Responsive Classroom has a lot of similarities with Conscious Discipline which is also AMAZING!!! =)

    I am happy to be your newest follower. I would LOVE for you to hop over and visit me when you get the chance.

    Heather's Heart

    1. Welcome to my blog! I am going to have to do some research on Conscious Discipline, as that is the first time I have heard of it and I am always interested in learning about different approaches to teaching. Although I am no longer in an RC school, I still use many components of that model in my classroom. I am so happy to have had that experience at the beginning of my teaching because I learned so much from it!

  6. I think my students in grade six would love this! I find that often students from another cultural background cannot do word puzzles, understand idiomatic language, etc. I am going to try these with students in the New Year! Speaking of the New Year...I would like to invite you to come over to the New Year Linky Party I am hosting on my blog at I cannot be the only one who would think this is a great way to start back to school in January! While you are could help me reach my goal of 100 followers! BTW...I am YOUR newest follower!
    Happy New Year!


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